Westport’s new video game bar, dance club, and new Lawrence restaurant

The Kansas City Star

In response to a mugger’s threat of “Your money or your life,” who paused for a bit and then said, “I’m thinking it over”?

The Jeopardy question (on the classic bit by legendary comedian Jack Benny) had Nicolette Nugent, 23; Brandon Medina, 24; and Tim Waszak, 25, stumped. They had been on a roll, but when they didn’t know an answer in the video game, they said they just took another swig of beer.

Jeopardy is just one of the video game choices offered at Westport’s new Throwback KC, a 1980s/’90s-themed video game bar and dance club at 510 Westport Road.

Nugent said it was “more fun than a regular bar.” Medina described it as “super chill.” And Waszak called it “a good place to wind down.” So the friends, who live in an apartment complex just up the street and work together at Cerner, said they might make it a once-a-week hangout.

Throwback KC partners — Matthew Brokaw, Aaron Beatty and Philip Thies — said millennials (which Pew Research Center calls the generation born after 1980 and the first generation to come of age in the new millennium) grew up playing video games at home on their TV, not in an arcade. So they wanted to recreate that feeling in a grown-up setting.

The operation has 15 TVs set up to play a variety of video games. For now the partners aren’t planning on charging for the games, but plan to make their profit in food and drink sales. Menu items include pretzel bites, pulled-pork sliders, meatball subs and buffalo chicken quesadillas.

Arcades and video game bars are a growing industry across the country.

In a statement, Joseph Olin, executive director of the Video Game Bar Association in California, said: “More people today are spending more time playing games than at any time in the past 40 years. Much of this growth is through casual and connected game play offered through smartphones … The concept of the arcade from the ’70s and ’80s is gone for the most part. … Games across all formats will exceed $70 billion globally with no sign of abatement.”

After 10 p.m., a few tables will be moved out of the way for the dance floor, with mostly 1980s and ’90s music.

The partners also will rent out Throwback KC, along with their sister operation next door, Offkey Karaoke Lounge & Suites, for private events.

Coming to Lawrence

Zach Marten and Bret Springs of Coal Vines on the Country Club Plaza and Westport Ale House are expanding with a new Lawrence location.

They plan to open RND Corner Grille in the former Round Corner Drug space at 801 Massachusetts St. in Lawrence in early December. Other details are still being worked out, but it will have about 40 employees.

Joyce Smith: 816-234-4692, @JoyceKC